Originally Posted by fierce_gt
i'm not saying i necessarily disagree with you, but i value the distance from the screen, the 'balance' of room aesthetics and if we're going to play the 'sit closer' game then i'm watching movies on my laptop with headphones... obviously you understand this by your last sentence, but i personally feel the limits for making front projection 'impressive' are a lot closer to the 110" 16:9 screen than the 32" tv.
Moving closer because your screen is small in a narrow room could very easily ruin room functionality and aesthetics. Making a room smaller, proportionally is easier to deal with, imo, than making a room that's narrow work for 2.35:1. My room is twice as long as it is wide. regardless of what those dimensions are, my seating is in the middle of the room right now and that's already kind of weird. If i move the seating further away, i want a bigger screen, and i'm already within a foot of the side walls(so i can't go wider). if i move the seating closer to make 2.35:1 work, then i have a lot of 'empty' room behind me. If my room were just smaller, i agree, but it's about the ratios. a room that is narrow, tall, and long needs different compromises than one that is wide, low, and short regardless of the actual size.
i guess what i'm getting at, is i feel the seating distance is determined as much (or more) by the room dimensions as it is the screen size. While there would obviously be some back and forth, i think determining the seating distance based on the room dimensions is a step before determining screen size. in a perfect world, i chose my screen based on my seating distance, which is based on my room dimensions.
but for the sake of argument, if you don't care about room aesthetics and are willing/able to move your viewing distance, then i absolutely agree with you.
Again we agree on this topic way more than we disagree. I even started a thread on the topic 2 years ago and the results were pretty interesting.
The more involved or evolved my thought process became about immersion and also real screen size the more I changed how I viewed my presentation in my small home media / HT room. Like you I have a rectangle room and it would be perfect for 2 rows of 2. and my screen size would have been limited to 110” 16:9. It also had the possibility of 1 row of 4 and perhaps a much larger scope screen. Throw distance raised its ugly head and with a shorter throw projector I could still do 110” 16:9 and the full rows distance to the screen would be the same as the front row going the other direction. It then became a question of viewing angle vs immersion. With something I had not thought of before and that is the social aspect of a group of 4 watching a movie in the same row. How often have you ever went to a movie theater and you sat in one row and your friends sat in the row behind you? Of course this method also requires no riser and stairs. It also is an interesting question on the audio front, because doing this made a 5.2 setup more than enough for me, and that’s what most of the media I get is anyway.
So I tried both ways and one way no one complained about the off center issue as much as the loss of immersion. Front row was IMAX like and second row was under-whelming like the back of the theater. So I turned conventional thinking 90 degrees and it is wonderful.
If you read thru the linked thread it will kind of lead you to we have two eyes and they are a few inches apart and even in darkness with only a screen image we still can tell size. There is a point when IMO the image becomes movie-like because of its immensity, more is better and IMAX some would say is hard to convey smaller than 80’ high. But for me there is some magic going on right around 110” or better yet 120” if I could do it. It is different than even an 80” TV at the same immersion level. I also find controlling the light and the reflections and the surround around the image all play a part in tricking us into believing it is cinema.
In my perfect world in a room larger than I have I would sit 2.0 x screen height for CIH viewing and 1.5 x SH for IMAX on a 120”-130” 16:9 screen with a single row of 4 seats. If I needed more capacity for special events I would add a row of 5 upright non-reclining regular commercial theater seats on a 12” riser. I doubt if I could fill 9 seats once every few years. The upright second row helps so much with back row immersion vs reclining them.
You mentioned aesthetics and you are correct it plays a huge role for some. Many HT are made with as much attention to the room with the lights on as off. Many people want a curved scope screen for how it looks. Even the building of the stage is important to people. I don’t disagree with all this even though I didn’t bring any of it into the theater I have now. It was very much in the planning of my theater at my old house. This time around I only thought about one thing and that was the visual and sound experience when the lights are out and the movie playing.